The Green Girl's Long Beach Marathon Race Report

On Sunday, the Green Girl ran the Long Beach Marathon.

My longest training run was scheduled for the evening before I flew out to the East Coast for Tour DaVita. I had planned on doing 20 miles but had to cut my run short to 14 when production issues came up at work.

The Green Girl, Coach Steve, and fellow Sole Runner, Kathleen
When I returned from the bike tour, Coach Steve helped me put together a pacing strategy for the race. Our goal was for me to do a sub-6 marathon. That would require me to shave just over an hour off my marathon PR.

Race morning, I carpooled with my SparkFriend, Jeannie, to the Starting Line.

Coach Steve leading the Sole Runners pre-race body looseners
She lined up for the walker early start and I headed over to the Sole Runners tent.

When it got closer to the race start, Coach Steve assembled the group behind our tent for our body looseners.

We ended with a Sole Runners team huddle before we all headed for our respective corrals.

Pre-race sunrise
True to form, I had to visit the porta-potty a few times before I felt confident enough to line up in my corral.

Mr. Green Garmin was programmed to help keep me under a 13:44 average pace for a 05:59:59 finish.

I chatted with other Sole Runners as we waited for our Corral 5 wave start.

Fellow Sole Runners, Miyuki and Kathleen, with the Green Girl in Corral 5
As soon as I crossed the Starting Line, I turned on my running playlist, zoned out all the other runners so I could find my pace, and tried to convince myself that I didn't need to pee again.

I refused to allow a porta-potty line destroy my sub-6 dreams so I finally gave in around Mile 2 and resorted to ducking behind a vicious bush that stabbed and scraped up my knee.

Fireboat spraying water over Rainbow Harbor
I felt much better after my pit stop and I quickly eased into a comfortable pace.

My body felt really good and my legs felt strong.

I stopped by the Sole Runners Mile 9 aide station briefly and grabbed some of The Green Girl's Famous Salted Potatoes prepared by Sole Runner, Betty.

The Long Beach Half Marathon/Full Marathon split
At the infamous Half/Full Marathon split, I followed the bend to the right.

All of a sudden, I had intense metatarsal pain on my right foot. I had a serious heart-to-heart with my right foot and I let it know I needed it to work with me. It stopped hurting.

I was overjoyed when I saw I had reached Mile 13 in 02:39:16.

The sun was starting to get hot so I increased my sports drink intake at the water stops.

Despite the heat, I was able to maintain a fairly consistent pace and I reached Mile 18 in 03:47:41.

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity Einstein
I slammed into the metaphorical wall at Mile 21.

I knew the time had come to pull out my Sole Runners Secret Weapon so I reached into my pocket and opened it up.
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. Einstein

This was my opportunity to do a sub-6. I took a deep breath, dug deep, and pushed on.

HillBilly Yoga pacing the Green Girl from Mile 21 to 24
Out of seemingly nowhere, HillBilly Yoga appeared.

I appreciated the fresh legs and easy conversation.

I watched the 05:30 pace group go by but I didn't have it in me to keep up with them.

Mile 23 was the longest mile of my entire life. It was so long that I gave in to one of the hills and walked.

I was suffering from hypoglycemia at this point and it was a struggle for me to maintain any semblance of a conversation. All I could think about was crossing the Finish Line and then getting some sugar - in that order.

The Green Girl and fellow Sole Runner, Kathleen, at Mile 24
Mr. Green Garmin read 05:45:26 when I crossed the Finish Line. My official time was 05:45:21.

Everything came full circle for me when I crossed that Finish Line.

I followed the Couch-to-5k program and completed my very first race at the Long Beach 5k back in 2007. I remember watching the half and full marathoners crossing the Starting Line. I was simply amazed and wondered if I would ever be capable of doing something like that.

I also crossed two items off my Running Bucket List - outrunning Mr. Green Garmin's battery life and running a sub-6 hour marathon.


The Green Girl's Tour DaVita Report

Tour DaVita Welcome Riders! sign at HFD
The Green Girl and Lexa rode 260 miles over the course of three days and completed their first century when they crossed the Tour DaVita Finish Line.

I participated in Tour DaVita to raise money for The Kidney TRUST, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of kidney disease through public education and testing programs.

Tour DaVita route map

The theme of the tour was 'The Spirit of the Ride'. We were asked to 'Create the Spirit of the Ride', 'Respect the Spirit of the Ride', and 'Remember the Spirit of the Ride'.

Tour DaVita Day 1 Route Map
Each morning, route maps were handed out at breakfast to supplement the course signage.

Tour DaVita Day 1 consisted of a loop around Great Barrington, MA, that actually took us through three states - Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York.

The morning was cool and crisp as we headed out.

Since I had to ship Lexa out ahead of time, I hadn't cycled in over a week and it felt good to ride again.

The Green Girl's lunch - Grilled Chicken & Guacamole Wrap, macaroni salad, Coke, and a chocolate chip cookie
My strategy was to ride at a comfortable pace the first day, take it easy the second day, and then really push the third day for the century.

Lunch was at the Norman Rockwell Museum.

I had planned on visiting the museum but Mr. Green Garmin let me know I was well under my expected 14 mph average at just below 10 mph so I opted to keep going.

Tour DaVita back roads
The breathtaking landscape along the back roads we traversed was sprinkled with glimpses of rich autumn colors.

All the Tour DaVita riders were incredibly supportive and encouraging along the route. It's amazing how a few positive words can be so powerful.

I was pleased with how strong I felt at the end of the 86.5 mile ride.

Tour DaVita Rest Stop
My legs felt good going into Tour DaVita Day 2 but my lower back was tight.

It was another beautiful day with clear skies and pleasant breezes.

According to plan, Lexa and I took it easy.

At each Rest Stop, I did yoga stretching to relieve the tension in my lower back.

A tractor passing by
Some of the reactions when people saw my name on my bib were really amusing.

They would make comments like 'Oh, you're the girl who sends out all those Reggie* is up, Reggie is down, oh, Reggie is back up emails!' and a few riders asked me if I ever sleep since I'd been sending a number of emails at odd hours.

The Green Girl and Aaron
One of the highlights of Day 2 was being able to ride with a teammate from the Tacoma, WA, office, Aaron.

We rolled through miles and miles of open fields spotted with barns and grazing cows.

We even went by a giant wooden structure filled with hanging hides.

The Green Girl and a Tractor Crossing sign
We learned to appreciate little things like momentum gained from a downhill that helped push us up the upcoming hill.

Aside from my increasingly tight back, I felt good at the end of the 75 mile ride. I didn't feel fatigued and my legs still felt strong.

I yearned to go for a run but I told myself I needed to conserve my legs for the century.

I could not have asked for a better way to start off Tour DaVita Day 3 when Stephanie from Running to Health offered to come and start off the ride with Lexa and me.

The Green Girl and Stephanie from Running to Health
I was thrilled to be able to meet a fellow running/cycling blogger but I got really excited when she asked me if I wanted her to bring me anything.

I immediately asked for a Dunkin' Donuts Boston Creme. I mean what more could a Green Girl ask for?

I was grateful for the tasty breakfast and the company. Chatting with Stephanie helped take my mind off my lower back and it was good to ride with a fresh pair of legs.

Drizzling rain dampened Day 3. Lexa and I had never ridden in the rain before so I was somewhat apprehensive but there was never a downpour.

Rainy Tour DaVita Day 3
I was concerned the precipitation would slow Lexa and me down but we were making really good time when we arrived at the 40 mile mark lunch stop at the DaVita Middletown Clinic.

I ate quickly, stretched out my lower back as much as possible, and headed back out with Lexa.

My legs were still feeling good but each uphill made my lower back even tighter. I spent a lot of time trying to do 'sitting' Marjarasana (Cat Cow) to ease the tension.

Hang Tough
I really struggled from mile 75 on.

I had taken some ibuprofen at lunch but it didn't ease the back pain so a few hours later at a Rest Stop, I popped a couple acetaminophen.

I dug deep. I took a number of stretch breaks. I really focused on breathing out the tension.

Riding along the Long Island Sound
I reminded myself over and over that all I needed to do was cross that Finish Line and then I could go for a run. The prospect of going for a run was one of the only things that kept me going.

The stretch along the Long Island Sound was exceptionally windy and I tried my best to maintain a respectable speed.

The Tour DaVita Finish Line
The cheerful yells and cowbells were a welcome sound as Lexa and I approached the Finish Line of our very first century.

Aaron was there cheering on the riders as they crossed the finish.

He snapped some pictures of Lexa and me and walked me to the table to get my finisher's medal.

The Green Girl at the Finish Line of her very first century
Filled with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, I headed over to the tents so I could change into my running clothes and go for my victory run.

Lexa, we did it. We rode 260 miles and completed our first century together!

* The Green Girl is the support girl for the Reggie application
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